Monday, December 12, 2011

Raw Edge Ornament Tutorial

I'm sure that many of you know someone with young children or four-legged children who like to help "undecorate" the Christmas tree.  So instead of filling those bottom boughs with heirloom ornaments and breakables, you can gift them with these lovely ornaments.  I have designed a bird for you to get started, but anything you can imagine is fair game.  Cookie cutters are wonderful for design ideas.

Here is the pattern, drawn on 1/4 inch graph paper.  You should be able to print this picture and then see how large or small you want it.

Make two plastic templates.  One of the full bird and a separate wing section.  I write RS for right side on my template, as the wing is asymmetrical.

For each ornament, you will need two 5-inch squares of fabric (I usually use muslin for both sides, but feel free to experiment).  The biggest concern is the ability to mark the pattern on one side).  The pieces can be larger than 5 inches, but not less.  You will also need a 5-inch piece of batting--I particularly like cotton for these ornaments.  I have successfully used Hobbs Heirloom bleached and unbleached.  This batting will show at the edges of the ornament.

Trace the full bird template onto one piece of fabric.  Place the bird at an angle so that it fits better.  I use Prismacolor Verithin pencils in silver for this step.  This should not be a permanent marker.  Make a dot where shown on the wing.  This is the marker for the hanger.

Now place the separate wing into place and

trace the bottom edge! Layer the backing right side down, the batting, and the top piece (with the traced design UP, of course!).  Baste about 3/8 of an inch beyond the drawn line through all three layers.  You could add more basting if you'd like, but it is not really necessary.

I like to use a Richard Hemming Between size 10 to quilt with.  Here I have used a variegated 24 wt. YLI Fusions thread.  Start on either side of the wing and quilt as shown above.  Quilt right on the line.  It is not a good idea to travel any great distance when using light colored fabrics on both sides and a thin batting.  Bury knots in line with a quilted line to make it look more like a shadow.

Now start at the tip of the wing and quilt the wing section.  Consider using a different colored thread for the wing.

Ta-Da!  The quilting is done!  Pretty fast and easy, wasn't it?  Add an eye to both sides with pigma pens or you could embroider the eyes with a french knot--or how about a small glass bead on either side.

With small, sharp scissors, carefully cut out the bird.  I like about 3/16 inch; you may like a bit more.  Don't be tempted to get too close to the stitching--it will fray out!

Remember the dot on the wing?  Now use a piece of quilting thread to make a hanger.  You can do single or double strand, no knot yet.  Bring the needle up or down through the dot, match the ends and make a knot at the end of the hanger.  You may want to sign the back of the ornament or you can embellish the bird more.  I'll just warn you to beware of heavy embellishments.  If you decide to use buttons or such, the bird starts to tip--you may need to adjust the placement of the hanger to compensate.

So there you have it!  Quick, easy and unbreakable.  And you won't be too annoyed if two- or four-legged children grab hold and chew or drool on them.  Because you can repeat this for next year's holidays!  And don't forget, these make great gift tags at any time of year!

Big holiday hugs!

P.S.  I finally finished The Boleyn Inheritance--and trust me you so do not want what those girls inherited!  I'm now listening to The Affair by Lee Child.

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